Cinema of Israel
Cinema of Israel (Hebrew: קולנוע ישראלי Kolnoa Yisraeli) refers to movie production in Israel since its founding in 1948. Most Israeli films are produced in Hebrew. Israel has been nominated for more Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film than any other country in the Middle East.
Movies were made in Palestine from the beginning of the silent film era although the development of the local film industry accelerated after the establishment of the state. Early films were mainly documentary or news roundups, shown in Israeli cinemas before the movie started. One of the pioneers of cinema in Israel was Baruch Agadati. Agadati purchased cinematographer Yaakov Ben Dov's film archives in 1934 when Ben Dov retired from filmmaking and together with his brother Yitzhak established the AGA Newsreel. He directed the early Zionist film entitled This is the Land (1935).
The first film studios were established in Herzliya in the 1950s, among them Geva Films (סרטי גבע) and Israeli Film Studios (אולפני ההסרטה בישראל). In 1954, the Knesset passed the Law for the Encouragement of Israeli Films (החוק לעידוד הסרט הישראלי). Leading filmmakers in the 1960s were Menahem Golan, Ephraim Kishon, and Uri Zohar.
The first Bourekas film was Sallah Shabati, produced by Ephraim Kishon in 1964. In 1965 Uri Zohar produced the film Hole in the Moon, influenced by French New Wave films. During the 1970s, many Bourekas films were made. They were big successes at the box office but panned by the critics. They included comedy films such as Charlie Ve'hetzi and Hagiga B'Snuker and sentimental melodramas such as Nurit. The main subject in most of the Bourekas films was the conflict between various classes and denominations, particularly due to romantic intentions. Prominent filmmakers in this genre during this period include Boaz Davidson, Ze'ev Revach, Yehuda Barkan and George Ovadiah.
The "New sensitivity" (הרגישות החדשה) movement produced social artistic films such as But Where Is Daniel Wax? by Avraham Heffner. The Policeman Azoulay (Ephraim Kishon), I Love You Rosa and The House on Chelouche Street by Moshé Mizrahi were candidates for an Oscar Award in the foreign film category.
During the 1980s, notable films included: Beyond the Walls (Uri Barbash), Summer of Aviya (Gila Almagor), Avanti Popolo, Late Summer Blues, Noa at 17, Hamsin (Danny Wachsman), Shtei Etzbaot Mi'Tzidon (Eli Cohen) and Burning Land .
In the 1990s, there was an emergence of films about anti-heroes at the margins of society, such as Amazing Grace by Amos Gutman, which dealt with AIDS patients. Notable films of this period were Life According to Agfa (Asi Dayan), Over the Ocean, Zohar (Eran Riklis), Song of the Siren (Eytan Fox), Lovesick on Nana Street, Leylasede, Afula Express (Julie Shles), Yana's Friends and Strangers in the Night (Serge Ankri).
In the first decade of the 21st century, several Israeli films won awards in film festivals around the world. Prominent films of this period include: Late Marriage (Dover Koshashvili), Broken Wings, Walk on Water and Yossi & Jagger (Eytan Fox), Nina's Tragedies, Campfire and Beaufort (Joseph Cedar), Or (My Treasure) (Keren Yedaya), Turn Left at the End of the World (Avi Nesher), The Band's Visit (Eran Kolirin) Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman), Ajami and more. In 2011, Strangers No More won the Oscar for best Short Documentary.
Genres in Israeli cinema 
|List of Israeli films|
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|1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
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Bourekas films 
Bourekas films (סרטי בורקס) were a film genre popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Central themes include ethnic tensions between the Ashkenazim and the Mizrahim or Sephardim and the conflict between rich and poor. The term was supposedly coined by the Israeli film director Boaz Davidson, the creator of several such films, as a play-on-words, after "Spaghetti Western:" just as the Western sub-genre was named after a notable dish of its country of filming, so the Israeli genre was named after the notable Israeli dish, Bourekas. Bourekas films are further characterized by accent imitations (particularly of Jewish people originating from Morocco, Persia, and Poland); a combination of melodrama, comedy and slapstick; and alternate identities.
New sensitivity films 
The "New sensitivity films" (סרטי הרגישות החדשה) is a movement which started during the 1960s and lasted until the end of the 1970s. The movement sought to create a cinema in modernist cinema with artistic and esthetic values, in the style of the new wave films of the French cinema. One of the most important creators in this genre is Uri Zohar, who directed the films Hor B'Levana (Hole In The Moon) and Three Days and a Child.
Different events occur in Israel which are perceived in the eyes of its residents and many people abroad as events of historical importance. It is relatively easy to shoot movies about these events, because there is a lot of written material about them in Hebrew which could be used as a basis for a script, and because it is relatively easy to cast an Israeli crew which would have a lot of knowledge about these historical events from personal experience. In a long enough historical event, like the First Lebanon War, it is possible to film Docudrama movies about the place and time in which it occurred.
Many Israeli films include songs performed by the actors. However, very few of the films contain both singing and dancing.
Military movies 
Many different Israeli films such as drama, Docudrama and comedy films engage in the IDF and in the military way of life. These are often composed of two genres, macho propaganda of fighting men, or "shooting & crying" films.
Holocaust films 
Many films about the lives of Holocaust survivors have been made in Israel.
History of Israeli movie theaters 
In the early 1900s, silent movies were screened in sheds, cafes and other temporary structures. In 1905, Cafe Lorenz opened on Jaffa Road in the new Jewish neighborhood of Neve Tzedek. From 1909, the Lorenz family began screening movies at the cafe. In 1925, the Kessem Cinema was housed there for a short time.
In 1966, 2.6 million Israelis went to the cinema over 50 million times. From 1968, when television broadcasting began, theaters began to close down, first in the periphery, then in major cities. 330 standalone theaters were torn down or redesigned as multiplex theaters.
Eden Cinema, Tel Aviv 
The Eden Cinema (Kolnoa Eden) was built in 1914 despite objections by the residents of Ahuzat Bayit, the neighborhood that became Tel Aviv. The owners, Moshe Abarbanel and Mordechai Wieser received a 13-year franchise. During World War I, the theater was shut down by order of the Ottoman government on the pretext that its generator could be used to send messages to enemy submarines off shore. It reopened to the public during the British Mandate and became a hub of cultural and social activity. It closed down in 1974.
Mograbi Cinema, Tel Aviv 
The Mograbi Cinema (Kolnoa Mograbi) opened in 1930. It was designed in an art deco style that was popular in cinemas worldwide. The building was roofless for the first few years and was eventually topped with a sliding roof. People gathered in front of the theater to dance in the streets when the UN General Assembly voted in favor of the Partition Plan in November 1947. After a fire in the summer of 1986 due to an electric short-circuit, the building was demolished.
Armon Cinema, Haifa 
In 1931, Moshe Greidinger opened a cinema in Haifa. In 1935 he built a second movie theater, Armon, a large art-deco building with 1,800 seats that became the heart of Haifa’s entertainment district. It was also used as a performance venue by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israeli Opera.
Alhambra Cinema, Jaffa 
The art deco Alhambra cinema, with seating for 1,100, opened in Jaffa in 1937. It was designed by a Lebanese architect, Elias al-Mor, and became a popular venue for concerts of Arab music. Farid al-Atrash and Umm Kulthum appeared there. In 2012, the historic building reopened as a Scientology center after two years of renovation.
Smadar Theater, Jerusalem 
The Smadar theater was built in Jerusalem's German Colony in 1928. It was German-owned and mainly served the British Army. In 1935, it opened for commercial screenings as the "Orient Cinema." It was turned over to Jewish management to keep it from being boycotted as a German business, infuriating the head of the Nazi Party branch in Jerusalem. After 1948, it was bought by four demobilized soldiers, one of them Arye Chechik, who bought out his partners in 1950. According to a journalist who lived next door, Chechik sold the tickets, ran to collect them at the door and worked as the projectionist. His wife ran the concession stand.
Common Themes 
Victimization plays a major role in Israeli cinema. Its purpose is to move viewers, and perhaps move them to action, but by portraying suffering and victimization rather than active and defiant resistance. Israeli filmmakers employ victimization in order to allow their audiences to empathize with their Israeli characters amidst the conflicts the country faces with others in the Middle East. They target all kinds of audiences and populations through these films. These films can be targeted towards Israelis to show them the suffering that their people endure due to destruction caused by other countries and to secure the Israeli sense of unity. These films might be created with the intention of inspiring the Israeli people to feel more protective of their nation. These films could also be targeted towards the countries causing them suffering in order to make them feel pity for bringing pain to others. Another option could be that the filmmakers could be targeting outsiders to make them aware of the situation and show them a different side of the complicated conflict that they perhaps had never seen before.
Part of the problem of Middle Eastern cinema lies in the culture of victimization that has spread across the Middle East, and that has catalyzed several projects on the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims, but has turned a blind eye to the other side of the formula. However, although there are still films where just one side of the conflict is portrayed as the victim, there are also a large number of films being made where multiple sides are shown as be equally victimized by each other. There is a lot of collaboration between Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers, and the films are becoming more about how both sides suffer amidst the ongoing conflict.
Cinema awards 
Cinema festivals 
Film schools 
See also 
- List of Israeli films
- List of Israeli submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Culture of Israel
- Israeli films of the 1950s
- Amos Oz, Barbara Harshav (2000). The silence of heaven: Agnon's fear of God. Princeton University Press. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- Oliver Leaman (2001). Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (1997). Filmexil. Hentrich. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- Gary Hoppenstand (2007). The Greenwood encyclopedia of world popular culture, Volume 4. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- Film about Tel Aviv school wins Academy Award[dead link]
- Shohat, Ella (2010). Israeli Cinema: East/West and The Politics of Representation. London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd. p. 113. ISBN 9781845113131.
- Shaul, Shiran (Fall-Winter 1978). Interview tih Boaz Davidson. Kolnoa. pp. 15–16.
- Shalit, David (January 3, 2011). "Cinemas in Eretz Yisrael". Boeliem.com. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
- Paraszczuk, Joanna (June 5, 2010). "Reviving Tel Aviv's Valhalla". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
- Roe, Ken. "Armon Cinema Ha'Nevi'im Street,Haifa". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Rosenblum, Keshet (August 30, 2012). "Alhambra Cinema in Jaffa reopens as Scientology center". Haaretz. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
- Rotem, Tamar (April 9, 2008). "80-year-old Smadar Cinema projects special image of Jerusalem". Haaretz. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- Stein, Rebecca, and Ted Swedenburg. "Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture." Duke University Press, 2005, p. 138.
- Khatib, Lina. Filming the Modern Middle East: Politics in the Cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab World. London: IB Tauris & Co. LTD, 2006, p. 10.
- "Ma'aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts". Maale.co.il. 1997-02-26. Retrieved 2013-04-02.
Further reading 
- Israel Studies 4.1, Spring 1999 - Special Section: Films in Israeli Society(pp96–187)
- Kamal Abdel-Malek, The Rhetoric of Violence: Arab-Jewish Encounters in Contemporary Palestinian Literature and Film, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005
- Amy Kronish, World cinema: Israel, Trowbridge, Wiltshire : Flicks Books [etc.], 1996
- Amy Kronish and Costel Safirman, Israeli film : a reference guide, Westport, Conn. [etc.] : Praeger, 2003
- Gilad Padva. Israel, Filmmaking. In Gestner, David Ed.), Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Contemporary Cultures (pp. 312–313). New York and London: Routledge, 2005
- Gilad Padva. Discursive Identities in the (R)evolution of the New Israeli Queer Cinema. In Talmon, Miri and Peleg, Yaron (Eds.), Israeli Cinema: Identities in Motion (pp. 313–325). Austin, TX: Texas University Press, 2011
- Ray Privett, Amos Gitai: Exile and Atonement, New York: Cinema Purgatorio, 2008.
- Raz Ysef, Beyond flesh : queer masculinities and nationalism in Israeli cinema, New Brunswick, NJ [etc.] : Rutgers Univ. Press, 2004
- Ella Shohat, Israeli cinema : East West and the politics of representation, Austin : Univ. of Texas Pr., 1989 ( an updated new edition will be published by I B Tauris & Co Ltd in 2010)
- Gideon Kouts, The Representation of the Foreigner in Israeli Films (1966–1976), REEH The European Journal of Hebrew Studies, Paris: 1999(Vol. 2), pp. 80– 108.
- Israel Film Festival
- Israeli cinematographers win prestigious awards at the 60th Cannes Film Festival. 28 May 2007
- Israeli Film, Home of the Early Israeli & Hebrew Film
- Israeli Film Fund
- Cinephil - Distribution & Co Productions Israeli Documentary & Feature Films
- Dragoman Films Award-winning Israeli films in North America
- Israel Film Center Database of Israeli films, news about Israeli cinema, calendar of screenings in the USA